Earlier this month when a 27-year-old man surnamed Chen broke into an apartment in Tainan, he quickly spotted a pile of the weekly manga comic book Youth Express, which came out in Taiwan around a decade ago. After flipping through a couple of pages, the burglar was so enraptured that he read one after the other, entirely forgetting why he was there or that he was at risk of being caught at any moment. He read the manga for a full three hours until the owner of the house finally discovered him and alerted the police.
The second branch precinct of Greater Tainan received a report at noon on Aug. 14 that a burglar had intruded into an apartment in the area under their jurisdiction. As the police arrived on the scene, the owner of the house was chasing the suspect with a baseball bat and shouting at him not to run. The police immediately detained the suspect on the fifth floor staircase.
Chen, who has a criminal record for theft, admitted that he snuck into the basement of the building next door that morning, and had access to Chen’s building because the basements of the two buildings are connected. Chen said he went straight to the sixth floor and walked into the apartment after noticing that the door was unlocked. Upon entering the apartment he saw a huge pile of Youth Express. He initially only wanted to flip through a couple of them, but he soon became increasingly intrigued and decided to sit down in a chair to read them one at a time. He even searched for the missing volumes in the series so he could read them consecutively. By noon he was detained by the police before he had time to steal anything.
Photo: Pan Shao-tang, Taipei Times照片：自由時報記者潘少棠
The owner, who actually lives on the fifth floor, told the police that he enjoys reading manga and uses the sixth floor as a storage space for his manga collection and miscellaneous objects, but that no one lives there. Since the doors are without locks, other people had entered before Chen. The owner has heard the sound of people moving things around upstairs, and found that some books and pans were missing, but did not know who the previous perpetrator was.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Taijing Wu)
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